The Wisest Man Warns of “MORE”

It was Solomon who first said, “there’s nothing new under the sun.”  Three thousand years later and it’s still true.  In that same text, the book called “Ecclesiastes” in the Bible, Solomon goes on to speak into something that cuts right to the heart of every entrepreneur’s seductive paradox: how much, why, at what cost, and for what gain to pursue “more.”

Check out the power punches and incredibly relevant insights into the human condition Solomon weaves through Ecclesiastes 4:4-8…

v4 – And I saw that all labor and all achievement spring from man’s envy of his neighbor.  This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

Hamster Wheel to El Dorado

How true is that!  How much of our treadmill pace is set by peers who are not running to the same destination we are and yet we want the same path, the same vehicle, the same stuff?  How much stress is bought into socially and not part of necessarily our calling, mission, need, or even healthy want?  Where is envy conveniently repackaged as “normal” causing you to chase your tail or “the wind” as Solomon says?

v6 – …Better 1 handful with tranquility than 2 handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.

Better a little less than what you could achieve/attain at full speed with the gift of peace, freedom, tranquility than maximum wealth or achievement at the cost of your soul.  Jesus would later say, “what does it really profit a man if you gain the entire world but lose your soul in the process?”  Are we willing to accept less than the king of the mountain status but have real life along the way?  Are we okay letting go with 1 hand so that we might receive the gift we cannot otherwise?  What might that cost you right now, or has it cost you?

v7 – Again I saw something meaningless under the sun: there was a man all ALONE; he had neither son nor brother.  There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his current wealth.  “For whom am I toiling,” he asked, “and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?”  This too is meaningless – this is a miserable business!

The insatiable quest for El Dorado, for this “just a little bit more” as Rockefeller would say is required to satisfy the “more” track always requires family, friends, ministry, community and spiritual sacrifice on the altar.  Only to leave mass graves of lonely, isolated leaders with stuff and no joy.  What’s the point?  At what point will we stop to look around and go “why am I doing this? Why am I paying this price? Who said? Who’s this really for and what’s this really about?”

Nothing new, but man that observation by King Solomon sure cuts as if he was giving a TED talk in 2013!

I was re-studying this area of Scripture recently and did not believe it was ironically apropos with the segment material we covered in our board meetings recently.  This is part of the heart of what we strive against in C12.  Sometimes the insidious “more” bug takes on religious garb and can look like ministry even.  It’s part of why we need community, a tribe, a table of ongoing accountability to help us not drift into this ancient pattern.

I’m proud to serve alongside entrepreneurs seeking to steward not hoard, to advance hope not conquer territory, to pour out and not store up, to spread light not attract it, and to do it together!  Let us not grow weary or complacent in this great mission together.

Press on my friends!  Let’s live with NO REGRETS.  No EXCUSES.  What if we stopped living in cosmic insubordination?

 

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The IF Virus (Identity = Ground Zero)

Early in the Gospels we find a peculiar story where Satan gets the chance to go “mano y mano” with Jesus.  Yes, Satan assaults Jesus in broad daylight.  It’s the first account we have of him drawing the incarnate Son of God into a human temptation ring.  Sure, the assassination plot in Bethlehem proved a fiasco, but now it’s man to man.  If you had “one shot” at the Son of God, one chance to skew the redemptive campaign of God, what would your opening punch, your TKO attempt be?  For Satan is was insidious: sabotage of identity.  No physical strike, no IED or nuclear strike – Satan fires a cosmically ballistic virus of “if you are” to draw Jesus into a vortex of compromised identity.  Prove it.  Grab the ring of acclaim, comfort and validation, Jesus!  Why?

The corruption of identity is the cosmological equivalence of sabotaging the core reactor, corrupting the very OS of a human.  A WMD when deployed effectively.  Swap the IV drip from water to poison and the toxic cascade begins instantly!

If this is the signature play of Satan for Jesus, what are the implications for us as followers of Jesus,?  Like going to Baskin Robins, there may be 31 flavors but it’s still all ice cream – and while there is a wide array of “poses” we each may battle, it is the same essential fulcrum of identity we must confront directly.

Jesus asks YOU – who do YOU say I am?  God asks you if you want to live your broken life or my perfect life?  In Christ, when we exchange our life for His, He is the one living through us and nothing we do determines or enhances that identity…but trying to earn it is one way to deny it and fail to experience it!

Satan asks “if you want to be like, then try to/get/do/look/feel..”

Notice that Jesus didn’t wrestle Satan MMA style, he shut down the argument.  You don’t wrestle, you don’t entertain and satisfy the test – you shut it down.  Name it (as death), claim it (life by identity in with complete work of Jesus) and move on.

What are you trying to prove?  That you’re good, you’re better, reformed, excellent, worthy, accomplished something, secure, powerful, brilliant, deserving, approval of your father?  All of those are 31 flavors to death apart from Christ.  What defines you?